Written by Troy Hannafin


If you have ever seen the movie Rebel Without A Cause, you will know how easy it can be for James Dean to come unravelled in an overly-dramatic way.

And if you had seen that movie, before playing the clip, you’re probably as old as I am. That means you have seen some old 3DL cabinet doors unravelling themselves in a similarly over-the-top fashion.

The skin seems to be popping straight off of the doors like rats jumping ship. You may ask yourself “Why would I want to put those doors in my kitchen, or even a rental for that matter if they’re going to do that eventually”?

Correctly made 3DL cabinet doors DON’T DO THAT! One of the following two things has to be going on under the surface for that to happen.

  1. Not enough glue was sprayed on the edges or face of the door. Some manufacturers, while likely trying to save time or money, do not put enough glue to account for absorption into the MDF. However, if too much glue is applied, the face and edges will turn out a bit lumpy looking. It takes considerable technical skill and finesse to get the correct amount of glue onto the door to result in both a quality look and a 3DL door that will last 20+ years. At M+J, we use a post-catalyzed, water-based, heat-activated glue that further lengthens the lifespan of the doors. I know that was too much of hyphenating, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided.
  2. There was no Primer applied to the back of the 3DL. After extruding the PVC into a thin sheet, the manufacturer then sprays or rolls a coat of primer to the back of the 3DL. This primer is specially formulated to adhere to the smooth PVC and to create a chemical connection between it and the heat-activated glue applied to the door. Without that primer, the glue will stick to the vinyl for a time. However, after about 3-4 years, it will start to let go, and the resulting ship-jumping starts.

M+J does a visual inspection of the glue level and the presence of primer before pressing every load of doors. We also do heat tests after every break to make sure we are activating our glue correctly. Physical and destructive pull tests are done at the same time to ensure we have the most durable adhesion. And who doesn’t like being destructive every once in a while, especially if the boss encourages it?

3DL cabinets doors can be an economical and long-lasting choice that will outperform most products that cost much more. Buy them from M+J Woodcrafts, and you’ll be sick of them well before they ever need replacing, trust me.

Contact us at 604.946.4767 to discuss how we can assist you with your cabinet doors.

Comments (38)

  1. Having been installing cabinetry and re-facing kitchens since 1991, I have seen and worked on MAAAAANY jobs requiring 1, several or all doors needing to be replaced because of de-lam… ahhhh the 90’s.
    Anywhoo, fun, informative article. Cheers

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